4G LTE Router With Voice
Internet over cellular connections has had an interesting history. It started years ago with tethering your basic phone to your computer via a USB cable. The neat part about it was that if you knew how to do it and had the right software, it just used your minutes. The downside was that it used 1X signal and it was cripplingly slow. While we have dramatically increased speed with 4G LTE and added a variety of options like USB modems and portable hotspots, home services have been limited to either Verizon's Home Fusion or some sort of piecemeal rig combining USB modems and routers.
All that is changing now, with Verizon's 4G LTE routers. These devices look and feel like more traditional wifi routers, but they have a 4G SIM card built in. There are two variations of their models: with and without voice. The router without voice has 4 ethernet ports. The voice-capable router nixes one of those ethernet ports and adds a pair of phone jacks like the Home Phone Connect device, as well as adding a "security" jack that currently has no use, but will eventually be able to interface with certain things like fax machines, medial devices, and home security systems.
Speaking of which, just like the Home Phone Connect, the 4G LTE Broadband Router With Voice is not currently capable of interfacing with those things. It is strictly voice for the calling side and LTE data for the inernet side. While the training and reference material state that both types of routers do not interface with home security systems and DVRs, I read the manual and that's a bit of a gray area. Automated security systems like motion detectors or alarms that transmit data over a phone line would not currently work. It looks like the router with voice will at some point, with a Verizon network and firmware update. However, the user manual on both devices have instructions on how to set up remote access, custom applications, and port forwarding, all of which make accessing a video feed off of a DVR possible. I have set up remote access to cameras and DVRs on other routers, so if you need assistantance with this, leave a comment and I will contact you to set up an appointment.
So what are the advantages of the new 4G LTE routers? The two big ones are ethernet ports and range. A jetpack or hotspot on a phone can generate a wifi signal that will get 25-30 feet away from the device. Depending on obstructions, the wifi range on Verizon's 4G LTE routers is between 150-300 feet. No more hauling your jetpack or phone from room to room, the 4G LTE router will cover almost the entire house, and have a few ethernet ports for computers, gaming systems, or home security camera systems.
Unlike the jetpacks, the 4G LTE Routers do need to be plugged into an outlet. Traveling with one would require a 12V to 110 inverter in the car. And while the voice-enabled router has a backup battery, it is strictly for the phone/voice portion of the router. So if portablility and ease of use is important, a jetpack may still be the better choice.
Both routers must be activated on a Share Everything plan of some sort. Legacy plans like unlimited for $59.99, 5GB for $50, or 3GB for $35 are not compatible, so if you are upgrading a USB modem or older jetpack, a price plan change may be in order. Keep in mind that the old unlimited for $59.99 and 3GB for $35 plans no longer exist, so if you move off of those price plans, you may not be able to reactivate those plans. However, if you have multiple internet-connected devices on your account, a bill analysis may be in order and you could even save some moeny. Stop in at a local Wireless World and we will be happy to match you with the right plan. Below are the price options:
- Both the standard 4G LTE Router and the Router With Voice can be added to a Share Everything or Data-Only Share Everything for $20 a month and would share out of the existing pool of data.
- The 4G LTE Router With Voice can be activated as a standalone voice device like the Home Phone Connect for the same rate of $20 a month, with or without a Share Everything plan.
- The 4G LTE Router With Voice can also be activated as a combination unit that acts as both a Home Phone Connect and a Router. One phone number, two services. Split the difference here, instead of two $20/month plans, this service costs $30 a month.
Here are the main types of people who would need or want the new 4G LTE Routers:
- Businesses. Since business plans cannot activate Home Fusion service, the 4G Routers would be a perfect fit, especially since many businesses still use desktop computers.
- Apartment residents. Apartment-dwellers also cannot use Home Fusion, so if a jetpack, USB modem, or tablet wouldn't provide the necessary connectivity, a 4G LTE Router would.
- Those who need ethernet connections. Desktop computers, gaming systems, and home security DVRs may not be wifi-enabled.
- Customers who want to save money by combining phone and internet service.
- People who want to upgrade their jetpacks or USB modems, but until now there hasn't been a compelling alternative.